Round and round the Ritter Range | High Sierra Topix  

Round and round the Ritter Range

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Round and round the Ritter Range

Postby quentinc » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:53 am

Finally, this is the trip report I've been hinting at in various posts.

I took a week to explore Roper's "High Route" on both sides of the Ritter Range, which I've now concluded may be the single most beautiful stretch of the Sierra. I started from the June Lake area and went over North Glacier Pass (west of Thousand Island Lake), sustained a dislocated left shoulder :angry: , but kept going to Blue Lake. I dayhiked over to Yosemite from there -- it is truly amazing how the terrain looks quintessentially Mammoth (volcanic with amazing peaks) on the east side of Blue Lake Pass and quintessentially Yosemite (granite slabs/domes, meadows, gentler peaks) on the west side of the pass.

After coming back over North Glacier Pass, I had intended to head down to Minaret Lake and clamber up on Volcanic Ridge, but I ran out of food, time, energy and camera battery (so I made it only as far as the foreboding Iceberg Lake). I had also hoped to climb Ritter, but I figured I needed to locate my shoulder first before trying that.

On the way out, I passed several terrifying encampments of men swarming around enormous blue tents and carrying rifles. It was by far the creepiest thing I've ever seen in the mountains (is it hunting season already????). This was right in the area I had planned for my last night's camp. So I had to alter my plans and keep going until dark, where I ended up -- in all seriousness -- at a spot called "Spooky Meadow." But it was far less spooky than being around the paramilitary cult.

Here are some pictures:

http://good-times.webshots.com/album/560765342AHvtRj



User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BSquared » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:18 am

What a great hike! (Hope you've located your shoulder -- did you take a GPS position where you dislocated it? Might make it easier to locate again...)

I remember hiking out through Spooky Meadows once long ago -- it was quite spooky, partly because there were roughed grouse in the area, and I've always thought their distant drumming to be among the spookiest sounds in the backcountry. Sounds like somebody gently blowing over the top of a wine bottle to me, and it's completely impossible to locate the direction of the source. (I've only had a chance to look at a few of your beautiful photos, but I'm pretty sure the bird you've labeled as an "ouzel" is actually a grouse.)
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:38 am

Ouch--that sounds really painful. Sounds like a great trip nonetheless, and love the pics. I really love that island--I got a pic here:
Image

The last time I saw Spooky Meadow it was pouring rain and we were hightailing it to the trailhead. I recall a kind of talus-y section of trail below there that was very slick in the rain--not exactly spooky, but certainly nerve-wracking.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:29 pm

Thanks for the trip report and pic's. Cant go wrong with the Ansel
Adams area.
I remember Spooky Meadow because of the carpets of purple flowers
that covered it when I last went thru it back in the 90's.
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8033
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby quentinc » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:39 pm

BSquared: I identified that as an ouzel only because Roper's book says to look for ouzels in that very area, and that ouzels are gray, stocky, slow moving and bob up and down. I'd never even heard of an ouzel previously. So it's possible that Roper is making the whole thing up, which would be consistent with some of his directions. :)
User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BSquared » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:24 pm

quentinc wrote:I'd never even heard of an ouzel previously. So it's possible that Roper is making the whole thing up, which would be consistent with some of his directions. :)
:lol:

In the 1997 edition, Roper says, "Phrases such as 'Roper wasn't too clear here' humbled me and made me dart for my old notes and visit tricky spots when I could..." Heheheh...

But he definitely didn't make up the Ouzel. Its other name is a "dipper," and it's an extremely cool bird. It's much smaller than the roughed grouse, practically spherical, black, and it's never found far from running water and most often in it. I've seen dippers flying along low over a tiny mountain streamlet and following absolutely every bend and twist, no matter how small, just to stay right above the water. John Muir says they dive in and out of major waterfalls, but I haven't managed to see that.

Did you ever discover who the guys in the blue tents were? That really does sound creepy -- frankly it creeps me out just to see one guy walking along packing a rod on his hip, quite common in the Rockies. But a whole bunch of 'em in identical tents? :paranoid:
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:23 pm

Man, can't take you guys anywhere. Ouzels are gray and dip up and down, like a nervous habit. I have them on the creek where I live. They do tend to fly low over the water and follow every twist and turn. Now, lets go snipe hunting. Any takers? :p
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby copeg » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:27 pm

Thanks for sharing the TR. That last 'spooky' segment....very wierd.
Great photos. Loved browsing though them all. Although I've been along much of the trails of this area, there seems so much offtrail areas its astounding. I hope to explore it all one of these days.
User avatar
copeg
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 1968
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:25 pm
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Dippers/Ouzels

Postby oldranger » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:27 pm

Well I always thought they hung around running water but sometime in the mid 80s i went over the easternmost saddle between Table and Cunningham creeks in the Great western Divide and I think it was at the middle tarn in the little tributary of Cunningham with 3 tarns that the saddle accesses I came across about 2 dozen of the normally solitary dippers boppin on the rocks on the edge of the tarn and literally flying underneath the water. I had a great view and watched the gathering for about 20 minutes or so. I returned a couple of times over the next few years but never again there or anywhere else came across such a gathering.

Mike
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2166
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BSquared » Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:52 am

hikerduane wrote:Man, can't take you guys anywhere. Ouzels are gray and dip up and down, like a nervous habit. I have them on the creek where I live. They do tend to fly low over the water and follow every twist and turn. Now, lets go snipe hunting. Any takers? :p

Damn, you're right, they are gray! Just goes to show: time to log off and get up into the mountains again!
Image
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:40 pm

I have seen a mouse I guess a couple times along the shore somewhere in my travels, working the shore, submerging and surfacing looking for food I guess. Then there is the mountain beaver I saw close to home in a creek that runs into the one I live on, like a small muskrat. Did a search a few years ago on them and they are along the coast, they shouldn't be where I saw it. I was fishing, opening day and saw this small critter. It wasn't paying any attention to me, so I tapped it on the head with my fishing pole, :lol: , then it finally took off.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Round and round the Ritter Range

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:16 pm

quentinc wrote:Finally, this is the trip report I've been hinting at in various posts. ...Blue Lake...Blue Lake Pass ....


Outstanding. The whole Glacier Pass to Blue Lake Pass is something I have had my eye on for a long time.
Some comments:

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/23 ... 3830FXuBml
The "Tarn, in lower portion of basin" is commonly refered to as "Foester Lake" is reported to be a real beauty, and is something I intend to camp at one day. There was a use trail to it from the main trail, but it has been reprted missing. Thanks for posting that picture!

The Peak 11210 (7.5) was something I was carefully looking over from the Lyell Fork a few weeks ago, so I found your pictures of it very interesting.

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/25 ... 3830GOQYhD
The "Looking down into the Lyell fork of the Merced River basin" is a great shot, but it is even better being down there, as I hope to prove in the next issue of Sierra-Trail. See that rock island in the right-hand meadow? Both F. Solomons and Ansel Adams took pictures over that rock island. If you like I could send you a picture I took duplicating their shot or I could post it here as a sneak peek, but I do not wish to bogart this thread.
The left hand meadow has a great camp there, which is why Ansel Adams camped there. And the view from there....

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/29 ... 3830BseKiu
Was "Triple Divide Peak" really Long Mountain and Harriet Lake?

"Heading up to Blue Lake pass" Picture. John Muir passed through this area and spoke of camping on an istmus between two lakes. This may be the place.

I also liked the Bench Canyon, Blue Lake and Pass pictures. If I go up there I will probably start from the Isberg Pass trailhead.

Great pictures and trip!

PS [Edit] Here ia an Ansel Adams picture from the Lyell Fork:
http://www.anseladams.com/index.asp?Pag ... rodID=1033
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: EagleB, Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests